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Full text of "Byzantine Churches In Constantinople"

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CHAPTER IV
THE   CHURCH   OF   S.   IRENE
THE church of S. Irene stands at a short distance to the north-east of S. Sophia5 in the first court of the Seraglio.
Its identity has never been questioned^ for the building was too much in the public eye and too near the centre of the ecclesiastical affairs of the city to render possible any mistake concerning its real character. It is always described as close to S. Sophia.1 According to the historian Socrates/ it was originally one of the Christian sanctuaries of the old town of Byzantiums a statement . we may well believe3 seeing Byzantium was the seat of a bishop before the foundation of Constantinople. The designation of the church as cthe Ancient' or s the Old Church/ Ecclesia Antiqua, 97 TraXata/ and the special regard cherished for the church during the earlier history of the city> are also thus best explained. The original sanctuary was small/ but when Byzantium became the capital of the East the old fabric was enlarged and beautified by Constantine the Great to harmonize with its grander surroundings, and was dedicated to Peace, in honour of the rest and quiet which settled upon the Roman world when the founder of the city had vanquished all his rivals after eighteen years of civil war.6
1  Socrates, ii. c. 6 ; Corpus juris civilis, Nov. iii. c. 3. 2 ; Itin, russes, p. 119,
2  Socrates, ii. c. 16.    So also the author of the Vita Fault Patr. C.P.    The Church of S. Irene, which the Anonymus (Banduri, ii. p. 31) says had once been a heathen temple, was the church of S. Irene,
3  Notitia, regio secunda $ Codin. De aed, p. 73.
4  Socrates, loc. cit 6 Ibid.
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